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The Big Boss (1971)

Tang shan da xiong (original title)
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2:35 | Clip
A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.

Directors:

Wei Lo, Chia-Hsiang Wu (uncredited)

Writer:

Wei Lo (screenplay)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Bruce Lee ... Cheng Chao-an
Maria Yi ... Chow Mei
James Tien ... Hsiu Chien
Marilyn Bautista Marilyn Bautista ... Miss Wuman (as Malalene)
Ying-Chieh Han ... Hsiao Mi (The Boss)
Tony Liu ... Hsiao Chiun (Mi's son)
Kun Li ... Ah Kun (as Quin Lee)
Nora Miao ... Drinkstand owner (as Mao Ke-hsiu)
Shan Chin ... Hua Sze
Chia-Chen Tu Chia-Chen Tu ... Uncle (as Chia-Cheng Tu)
Chih Chen Chih Chen ... Ice Factory Manager
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Chan ... Ah Pei (as Hui-yi Chen)
Lung Chan ... Gatekeeper / Blue Shirt Henchman
Stephen Chang ... Disciple
Ching-Ying Lam ... Ah Yen (Cheng's cousin)
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Storyline

Cheng is a city boy who moves with his cousins to work at a ice factory. He does this with a family promise never to get involved in any fight. However, when members of his family begin disappearing after meeting the management of the factor, the resulting mystery and pressures forces him to break that vow and take on the villainy of the Big Boss. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

KARATE/KUNG-FU! The oriental sensation now gives America the action it's been waiting for! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Miramax [United States]

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fists of Fury See more »

Filming Locations:

Pak Chong, Thailand

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Golden Harvest Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut) | (original rejected english dubbed)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the first week of filming, Bruce Lee was increasingly annoyed by the haphazard production. The equipment used for filming was old and in bad repair and the script consisted of a few basic ideas scribbled on scraps of paper. See more »

Goofs

During Cheng's final battles wearing the long sleeve shirt, the sleeves start to roll up and down on their own. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cheng Chao-an: Uncle, is this it?
Uncle: Yes, right over there. That's the town, Cheng. That's right. Not much further to go.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Japanese Print, there are several revisions:
  • The film is dubbed in English.
  • The soundtrack is a mix between the English dubbed version, the Hong Kong re-release version and music made especially for the Japanese print. While this cut came out before the re-release in Hong Kong, it is most likely that veteran Golden Harvest composer Joseph Koo was called in to create new music tracks for the Japanese version, which would later be reused in the Cantonese re-release.
  • Instead of playing the end of the theme song for the ending like in the U.S. version, the song "To Be A Man" is performed by James Wong and instrumentals by Joseph Koo.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Someone Has to Review It!: The Raid 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Grand Vizier's Garden Party (Entertainment)
Written by Nick Mason
Performed by Pink Floyd
(Only in Cantonese version)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Crude and uneven, but the first Lee-starring film still has a certain power
19 October 2004 | by DrLeneraSee all my reviews

The first of the four Bruce Lee starring movies[ well, five, if you count Game Of Death]is technically the weakest. However, it's easy to see how it caused such a stir. Unlike most martial arts movies of the time, the film was set in the present day and attempted things like characterisation and even realism. These touches sometimes seem crude and even laughable now [for instance, check out the scene when the other workers of the factory are waiting for Lee to return, with it's exaggurated 'passing the time' actions]but when the film came out, it was a major step forward.

Even more daringly, the film has less fighting, with the fights being structured around the plot rather than the other way round, and bravest of all, the star of the film does not go into action into half way through. Instead, it cleverly builds suspense by having Lee as a guy who has sworn not to fight, and when he eventually cuts loose the result is exhilarating. However, it's obvious that none of Lee's opponents are a match for him and only the sequence when he battles a group of heavies in and around an ice factory really stands out. The clumsiness of much of the action [Lee was only allowed to choreograph the ice factory scene]is almost redeemed by the huge amount of gore and brutality.

Despite it's shoddy aspects, the film does have an odd power,especially towards the end. Lee's character is a very flawed hero who for a while badly strays from goodness and there is a sense that killing all the bad guys will not bring him redemption. In all three of Lee's Hong Kong films, violence never really solves things, it just makes things worse. Maybe that is why Lee's dated, sometimes awkward films are still watched again and again while many other films of the same time and genre have faded into obscurity. Well, that and Lee.


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